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on January 6, 2011
Gotopinions, your response kinda gives you away: you are one of the people involved in booting her out! Only one of them would actually be dumb enough to still call her a liar!
Hell, you might as well go ahead and call the Tribunal that heard her case a bunch of liars! Explain to me: why was the appeal dropped? I bet because DynCorp didn't wanna have the pot stirred any more then it already was.
I've been deployed a lot: people are getting called in to fix errors in their time sheets all the time! Nobody gets fired over that.
Except the woman who `coincidently' also blew the whistle... THAT, we can't have...!

It was about time that someone opened up this sh.. pit! Don't get me wrong: there is a whole lot of good people working for these contractors, but man, accountability when someone seriously screws up (as in: involved in real criminal activities!!) is far fetched! They might get sent home, yes. They might get fired, yes. But I have yet to hear of a case where people like that actually get prosecuted and sentenced for crimes committed abroad while working as a contractor. THAT, Ladies and Gentleman, is the real underlying problem!
Gotopinions, open your eyes and go home, before you get caught...

I suggest making this book mandatory reading for all of Capitol Hill, both sides of the aisle, and FIX IT!
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on October 12, 2011
Corruption isn't a unique or uncommon thing. It's the same in any country, whether war-torn and chaotic or nominally democratic. It's just easier in some places than others. But you can count on the corruptible to try, no matter what the conditions. It just so happened that the conditions in Bosnia, where ex-police-officer-then-DynCorp-contractor Kathryn Bolkovac was stationed in 1999. Not only was the country a mess, both socially and physically, but by the very nature of DynCorp's organization and function, chaos reigned supreme. Bolkovac, in telling the story of how she uncovered rampant crime, mismanagement, and arrogance among her fellow UN and DynCorp workers, only to be fired on non-existent evidence and then win a lawsuit for it, becoming a whistleblower in the process, gives some hints as to why this was the case.

Bolkovac is clear in thought that the very idea of corporations providing 'policing' is downright stupid. Corporations exist to make a profit, so if cutting corners and cooking the books will work, you can bet it'll be done. With DynCorp, it's no different. After 'winning the bid' to manage personnel in Bosnia after the war, they did everything they could to make money. That meant, skimping on transportation and services offered to their employees, delivering less than they advertised, overstaffing, taking payment on half-finished or never started projects, offering the barest of training. Basically one big racketeering operation. (There's also the speculation, pretty thinly veiled, that they were/are basically a front for covert military ops.)

Worst of all, this 'cost-benefit' approach to 'nation-building' meant that certain requirements were waived when hiring new recruits. As Bolkovac discovered, many had histories that, combined with other factors, were a recipe for disaster. As psychologists Robert Hare and Paul Babiak make clear in their book Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, organizational chaos attracts corporate psychopaths like moths to the flame. And in a political climate like Bosnia, that was even more true. Then factor in the fact that contractors at the time had full immunity from the law... Additionally, DynCorp would get more money if there no "no incidents", providing the perfect incentive to cover up any. Talk about a perfect breeding ground for psychopathy! But hey, if DynCorp makes a buck, it's cool with them.

So what happened? Well, the Serbian mafia, in league with some of their democratic overseers, were discovered to be engaging in drugs, arms, and human trafficking - luring young women and girls into the country, where they found themselves in slavery, forced into prostitution and drug addiction. And the so-called 'men' taking advantage and raping these women were largely DynCorp contractors, UN workers, and other internationals working there. But don't fear, top officials had it under control. Once 'made aware' of the problem, they did all they could, namely: arresting the girls as 'prostitutes', shipping them back to their countries where many were immediately picked up by the mafia, sold into slavery once again, and turning a blind eye to the fact that so many of their employees were among the perps abusing them. Then there were the death threats to anyone threatening to expose the situation, and files conveniently 'lost'. A paltry few of the criminals were simply sent home, with no record. In other words, in DynCorp's bubble of pseudo-reality, there really were "no incidents".

One dynamic makes itself clear here: you can pretty much bet that those doing the cover-up, vehemently blockading any serious investigation, calling the victims "whores" who were "happy" to be doing what they were doing (and "working in the country illegally"), are engaging in the very crimes they're covering up. Top marks for brazen chutzpah goes to Dennis LaDucer, Bolkovac's deputy commissioner, not only had a history in the states of sexual abuse, he was caught in one of the brothels (one of the few to be dismissed and sent back to the States with no record for his crimes). Then there was local police that blocked one of Bolkovac's inquiries - he too was a regular. Needless to say, Bolkovac's attackers really come across as prime examples of 'corporate psychopaths'. Take J. Michael Stiers, who spearheaded her sacking: not only did he impugn the victims' credibility, but that of Bolkovac as well, demoting her from her position dealing with Human Rights on the grounds that she was "burned out" (for her own protection, you see, although he offered her no professional consultation). He, too, had a history in the States for sexual abuse. Seeing a pattern here? Here's what he said to Bolkovac: "In defense of any accused American monitor, I will most certainly attack the credibility of any person knowingly allowing herself to be illegally smuggled into the country." Somebody pass the vomit bag.

Even Bolkovac's UK tribunal called DynCorp's dealing with her "callous, spiteful and vindictive." As Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski writes in his book Political Ponerology, when psychopaths saturate groups like this, 'high ideals' (like 'democracy-building') become mere catchwords for something far more sinister.

So when you have a company that's prime motive is the mighty dollar, already self-selected for 'corporate' psychopaths, an 'open-door' policy for sexually abusive men, immunity from the law, in a country where corruption is already running strong, what do you think would happen?

Bolkovac should be praised for her part in exposing DynCorp's involvement in human trafficking. The book is well-written and captivating. Do check it out.
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on January 4, 2011
The private military contractor world is larger than the U.S. military and you don't have to look beyond major news headlines to know that there are serious problems. This book shines a light on what goes on behind the scenes and how some contractors view their missions as nothing more than Spring break with the highest paycheck they've ever seen.
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on January 5, 2011
This book is a real eye-opener. The amazing lack of accountability provides opportunistic private contractors with a well-paid position and access to illegal and unconscionable "perks." The vivid descriptions put the reader right in the middle of the action and reveals how difficult it is to try to do the right thing in a very bad situation. I can't wait to see the movie!
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on April 26, 2011
The Whistleblower is one of those books. Once you start, you have to find out how it ends. The book starts with the comic entry of a Nebraska mom into the world of security contracting. Bolkovac reveals her Croatian heritage and how that inspires her to join an international police force through DynCorp, a major corporation whose loose employment procedures are coupled with even looser morals on the ground. DynCorp contracts with the State Department to do national police training in war torn countries, and the more we read the harder it is to understand the U.S. Government's reasons for the partnership.

While Bolkovac naturally finds herself drawn to human rights investigations, she irks her male colleagues by uncovering their complicit behavior in feeding mafia trafficking of underaged women as sex slaves to international forces. The details are disturbing, and the lackadaisical attitude of men charged with keeping peace and security within the UN are even more so. The book could do more to delve into the reasons why international men so readily pay for forced sex and overlook the crime.

Throughout her assignment in Bosnia, Bolkovac is reassigned and demoted for her dogged pursuit of internal investigations. She is eventually fired, and pursues legal action against the company. The justice she receives in her case pales in comparison to the legacy she leaves behind in Bosnia - a cadre of national police and human rights investigators equipped to challenge traffickers in court and free young women. When the movie comes out, it will be a call to conscience for all who see it.
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on January 10, 2011
Couldn't put this book down. Very well written. Knowing it's based on a true story makes it riveting. Thanks for sharing your story, wish all people had your integrity.
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on April 11, 2011
Following the breakup of federated Yugoslavia (under Tito), into multiple linguo-ethnically-based states (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia, etc.), Lincoln, Nebraska policewoman Kathryn Bolkovac decides to sign up for the international police mission in ethnically-torn Bosnia.

She is joining a group of international police officials known as the IPTF, the International Police Task Force. She feels it is time for a change in her life and that she can make a difference.

It's a well-paid mission that will allow her to make twice her salary, tax-free. By virtue of her training and experience, she is well-qualified for the job. Much to her surprise, DynCorp, the Fort Worth, Texas-based American contractor which has been contracted by the U.S. Government State Department to run the operation, conducts only a cursory screening and interview. After a short-while, she is on her way to Bosnia.

She quickly finds out that many of her fellow DynCorp colleagues are minimally qualified for this sort of work, lacking in police experience. Worse, several of her DynCorp superiors are burn-outs, has-beens, incompetent, lazy, corrupt or all of the above. Worst of all, she finds some of her DynCorp colleagues and superiors are themselves engaged in criminal conduct or its cover-up.

This is the tale of her figuring out the situation in Bosnia, while attempting to accomplish meaningful police work. Her special niche of expertise is in investigating gender-based trafficking which she finds to be rampant in Bosnia.

Her first year is marked with considerable success as she applies her training and experience in the investigation of human trafficking and forced prostitution. By her second year, her work has begun to bear fruit as cases are brought to trial.

Without giving anything away, the discoveries she makes in her second year result in her forced reassignment, demotion and eventual firing.

This is a cautionary tale which should raise questions about the use of contractors whose behavior cannot be controlled, mandated or prosecuted. While serving overseas, contractor personnel are essentially immune from prosecution for any unlawful acts they commit.

There have been recent changes that require that overseas military contractors adhere to the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), which renders them responsible for unlawful acts and subject to prosecution. However the State Department and other civilian agencies within the Federal Government continue to make use of DynCorp, Halliburton, Kellog Brown and Root, Blackwater and other contractors which do not adhere to military justice protocol.

The use of unqualified or minimally-qualified personnel, the rapid turnover of staff and the opportunities for self-enrichment through corrupt practices, graft, price-gouging, bribery and extortion are there.

Bolkovac's journey from the International Police to whistleblower is a good, solid read. My interest is such I would have liked more details about the cases she was building, had she been able to complete them, i.e., "the rest of the story."

In the last chapter, she lists three suggestions for improvement in the use of contractor personnel. Based on her experience, I would have liked to learn what other rules or principles she would suggest to see in place. For that reason I give it four stars instead of five.
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on February 7, 2011
Many of us have heard stories and seen television documentaries dealing with the abuses that Kathy describes in her book, yet somehow we seem brush it off since we assume that these crimes are being committed by "someone else"... well guess again. Kathy leaves no room for doubt thanks to her solid documentation of her witnessing of events that took place. It is truly sad that corporations like DynCorp are not held accountable for their actions like any other police force would be, and the fact that they would be awarded with new contracts regardless of their gross negligence is negligent in itself. Kathy and her colleagues are an inspiration to anyone who shares a common interest in creating a better standard of living for everyone around the world.
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on October 6, 2011
I couldn't put this book down. In fact, I read it all in one night. This is the book that the upcoming movie, The Whistleblower, is based on. It is based on the actual events of a former Lincoln, NE PD Officer that went to work for DynCorp as a contractor with the UN. Basically, it involves high level cover-ups of human trafficking, since most of the American run corp was involved in some level with trafficked victims, whether it was purchasing services or the trafficking itself. Unfortunately, it also ends with this company is still a major contractor for the US government.
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on August 29, 2011
I study extremism. Sex trafficking & corruption help fuel criminal networks that either directly or indirectly impact my area of study. This book is important, intelligent, well written, & thoughtful. It discusses issues that, while unpleasant & deeply troubling, must be addressed in a significant way if we are to prevent the "cure" from becoming worse than the problems private contractors are tasked to solve. Thus, I highly recommend "The Whistleblower".
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